Again Without Grasso, USC Wins 2nd Straight Upset, Beating Pepperdine

  0 Jared Anderson | February 19th, 2017 | College - Men's Indoor, MPSF

Match Stats

  • USC defeats #9 Pepperdine 3-2 (30-28, 25-12, 22-25, 23-25, 15-10)
  • USC improves to 5-9
  • Pepperdine falls to 6-5

The unranked USC Trojans pulled off a second-straight upset of a top-10 program, hanging on to beat #9 Pepperdine in five sets.

The Trojans won a marathon opening set 30-28 and then went up 2-0 on a blowout second set. Pepperdine fought back hard, though, falling down as much as 11-9 in the third set before roaring back to win 25-22. The next set also went to the Waves, evening things up, but a 4-0 USC run in the fifth set left the score at 11-7, a margin Pepperdine couldn’t overcome.

Even more impressive for USC was that both upset wins have come without junior college transfer Gianluca Grasso, who has been out for three matches with an ankle sprain. Lucas Yoder had 21 kills and Lucas Lossone 16 to lead USC in Grasso’s stead. Meanwhile Matt Douglas had 18 digs for a Trojan roster that should get better with Grasso. Depth will be key for USC, which played just 9 players to Pepperdine’s 11. The Trojans only played 7 in their win over #6 Stanford on Friday.

Pepperdine’s David Wieczorek notched 18 kills in the loss.

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Lucas Yoder had 15 kills and Woody Cook added 10 kills and 5 digs to lead the unranked USC men’s volleyball team to a 25-19, 25-20, 25-23 upset sweep over No. 6 Stanford in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match on Thursday (Feb. 16) at USC’s Galen Center.

It was USC’s first 3-set victory in 16 matches, dating back to late in the 2016 season. The Trojans improved to 4-9 overall and 3-7 in the MPSF, while Stanford fell to 8-5 overall and 5-3 in league play.

Jordan Ewert led Stanford with 12 kills and 8 digs, while Gabriel Vega added 10 kills and Evan Enriques had 10 digs.

Matt Douglas had 10 digs for the Trojans, Andy Benesh hit .538 with 7 kills, Ryan Moss had a match-high 5 blocks and both Gert Lisha and Lucas Lossone had 6 digs. The Trojans were again without recent junior college transfer Gianluca Grasso, a starting outside hitter who missed his second consecutive match with an ankle sprain.

USC hit .286 to Stanford’s .089. The Trojans also had more blocks, 10.5 to 6.0.

USC opened up a 13-9 lead in the first set before Stanford tied it at 16-16, but the Trojans scored the next 3 points to restore order. Troy got off to a 4-1 edge in the second set, but again the Cardinal caught up (at 7-7), then the set seesawed until USC went on a 4-0 run to go up 17-13, all the margin it needed while hitting. 407. The Trojans fell behind 10-8 in the third set, but tied it at 14-14 and then used a 4-0 run to move ahead 18-15, enough to hold off Stanford and clinch the match.

USC next hosts No. 9 Pepperdine in an MPSF match on Saturday (Feb. 18) at 7 p.m. PT in the Galen Center.


LOS ANGELES, Calif.: – The 9th-ranked Pepperdine men’s volleyball team succumbed to USC in five-sets at the Galen Center this Saturday night, despite multiple career-high and record numbers.  The Waves fell 30-28 and 25-12 to open the day before the team collected 25-22 and 25-23 to tie the match and then eventually dropped the fifth 15-10.

In the fifth set, USC (5-9, 4-7 MPSF) went ahead early, but the Waves (6-5, 4-4 MPSF) answered to remain even up to the 7-7 mark.  At that point the Trojans built a small cushion that would eventually lead to a 15-10 fifth set to pick up the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation victory.

The Waves collected a massive 23.5 team blocks, while allowing only 9.5 to the opposition. USC led the attack effort, however, with 65 kills on a .227 hitting percentage and Pepperdine posted 53 kills on a .155 output. The Waves also added three aces and 33 digs compared to the Trojans eight aces and 51 digs.

The Waves had a multitude of career defensive performances, including redshirt-sophomore David Wieczorek (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) and junior Clay Carr (Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor HS) who had 10 and 11 block assists respectively.

Wieczorek tabbed the second double-double of his career with 18 kills along with his block output.  He added a .283 success rate on 46 swings and posted one ace, four blocks and 20 solid service receptions.  Carr led Pepperdine with his career-best 11 blocks, along with seven kills on a .455 attacking percentage.

Senior Joshua Stewart led the squad with 48 assists while also producing a career-high seven blocks.  Junior Colby Harriman (Rochester, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit HS) also hit for double-figure kills with 14 and added three blocks.  Senior Mitchell Penning (St. Louis, Mo./Westminster Christian Academy) added eight blocks and three smashes.

In the first set, each team worked to the 7-7 mark before Pepperdine went on a 7-0 run with the help of blocks from Harriman, Carr and Wieczorek and a strong service effort from Stewart.  The opposition remained behind momentarily, but the Trojans eventually tied the match 22-22 late in the set.  After 11 tie scores, USC picked up the only lead change of the set to earn a 30-28 win and pull ahead early.

The Trojans had the momentum in the second set, jumping out to a 12-4 lead early and continuing to secure points en route to a 25-12 win to go up 2-0 on the night.

The third set was close, with both sides reaching the 11-11 mark after a Wexter, Carr, Wieczorek block collaboration.  The Waves block stayed tall and with five more collective blocks throughout the set, peppered with smashes from Harriman, Wieczorek and Wexter and the Waves earned a 25-22 win to start inching back into the match.

With the match still on the line, the Waves came out strong in the fourth, going point-for-point with USC to a 7-7 tie.  The Trojans went ahead 16-12 shortly after, but back-to-back blocks from Penning and Stewart and another kill from Wieczorek tied the set at 20’s.  Wieczorek, Carr and Harriman denied the Trojans twice more to secure a 25-23 set victory to send the match to the fifth.

Next week, the Waves head to Honolulu to challenge No. 4 Hawai’i on February 24 and 26, with first serve set for 9 p.m. (PT) each night.  Follow Pepperdine @PeppVolleyball on Twitter and Facebook for immediate updates and head to for recaps, results and more.

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